Ah, All Hallow’s Eve, the only time of the year where the passage between the living and the dead opens, and the deceased souls of those once mortal beings can walk among us again.
These days, I’m not sure any of them would actually bother to come back. The world is a pretty shabby place to be honest. Halloween is not so much now about pagan rituals, but rather commercialism, cash cows hijacking the true spirit of the festival for the promise of additional pocketed dollars.
Not that I have any serious issue with this. Unlike Christmas, Halloween is a pretty piss-poor event in the UK. It is ignored by many and half-heatedly embraced by those who do bother. I can’t say I’m surprised. We are still Americanising our Christmas festival, despite decades moaning about American’s over-enthusiastic approach to the holiday. Slowly we are turning our everyday high streets and supermarkets into American-Holiday shrines. I’m not sure when it happened, but all I know is when I do venture back to for the Christmas holidays, I lose count of the number of huge, gigantic blow up Santa’s hanging off the houses of those who can barely afford the electricity to illuminate them in the first place.
Halloween in the UK has not yet gone down this road. Perhaps it is its close proximity to November 5th and Bonfire night where we celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes and burn his effigy. But apart from the usual university and nightclub parties, Halloween itself is usually quiet. The one night of the year the countries Chavs can venture out and cause a public nuisance behind the smoke screen of Halloween festivities.
In Hong Kong, it’s very different.
In a culture rich in long-standing superstition and urban legend, locals are use to the spiritual and such ghostly festivities. Yet Halloween is very much embraced as a relief from the more serious ancestral days and represents an event for the children to enjoy some old fashioned candy hunting and photo’s with the hundreds of costume clad party goers down in central.
Unlike some western towns, Hong Kong is generally safe from the unsavory behavior that haunts Halloween nights. A random pelting of eggs and flour from bored youths is unlikely to happen and even in the midst of the masses of drinking crowds, you will not see much disturbance.
For party goers though, the traditional rules of Halloween still apply.
Young females with skinny bodies will wear as a little as possible, using this one night of the year as an excuse to dress like a bit of a slapper. Men may use this opportunity to explore their feminine side. Everyone though out and about on Halloween night will get involved.
This year I bought a clown outfit. I always said I would. Although it did look a bit like a jester/joker outfit, I made sure I had some juggling balls to entertain the crowds. It was a one size fits all which I was too fat for, so I had my back exposed to the city for most of the night. But it was fun. I like wearing makeup.
Political and topical outfits are always the best. Perhaps sometimes a little distasteful. But you really can’t stop a guy dressing as Jimmy Savile if he really does want to explore this side to his personality.
By midnight it is all irrelevant anyway as your costume will be half-hanging off you, along with any of your female friends you started the night with. By the early hours you will be Zombie, either off to bed or off to Wanchai, trying to avoid a very different creature of the night.
However you chose to celebrate though, I think many will agree that a Hong Kong Halloween is one of the best around.